The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday accused President Muhammadu Buhari of hypocrisy in his anti-corruption war, saying the Government have shielded cronies who have been linked with corruption.
Reacting to the $25 billion contract scam involving the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, the PDP warned Buhari against shielding Baru and others involved in the alleged scam.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, in a leaked August 30memo to the President, had detailed how about $25 billion contracts were illegally awarded by Baru without due process.
The party urged the President to treat Baru and others involved in the scandal the same way he treated the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, and many others involved in the $2 billion arms purchase scandal perpetrated during the last administration.
Dasuki is standing trial for the arms purchase scam and has been in detention since December 2015 for his alleged involvement in the sharing of $2 billion budget for arms purchase during the last administration.
Also, many notable PDP chieftains and former military chiefs that benefitted from the sleaze have had their properties seized and are currently facing trial in various courts.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, charged Buhari to live above board by instituting proper investigation into the scam, with a view to prosecuting anyone found wanting.
“As a political party, we expect that the President, who prides himself as an indefatigable corruption fighter, would for once try to live above board, by genuinely allowing one of his own, accused of corruption, get properly investigated and prosecuted as a show of his impartiality in the war against corruption.
“He should do this to correct the open impression Nigerians have about his so called anti-corruption war; that it’s just a tool of persecution of perceived enemies,” Adeyeye said.
Expressing shock at the President Buhari’s silence since the humongous scandal broke out, the PDP said there are several other acts of illegality being perpetrated by officials close to the President but which are being swept under the carpet.
Continuing, the PDP spokesman said: “We view the allegations levelled against Baru by Kachikwu as too grave to be swept under the carpet and we insist that the NNPC GMD must be treated like an accused who should not have the opportunity to influence investigation into his alleged misdeeds.
“In this light, we demand an immediate suspension of the NNPC GMD so that proper investigation can be carried out by the relevant anti-corruption agencies.
“Ordinarily if there was sincerity in the anti-corruption war, President Muhammadu Buhari should not have waited for any prompting before he takes a decisive action on this matter.
“But as customary with his administration, we suspect that he’s trying to shield Baru as he did for Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) whom he merely suspended to allow the hullabaloo generated by the fraud perpetrated in the management of the emergency fund for the IDPs, die down.
“Also up till now we have never heard anything again about the millions of dollars and billions of Naira discovered at an Ikoyi apartment.
“Nigerians have not forgotten the acts of illegality and double standard perpetrated by the President in refusing to hand over Babachir Lawal to the EFCC for proper investigation and possible prosecution for graft, but rather, preferring to give the task of investigation of the open sleaze to the Vice President, in a move not known to any law of this nation.
“Even at that, the report of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo- led committee is gathering dust on the shelf of the President because he probably could not bear to see one of his closest allies punished by the laws of the land, even when all facts showed that blatant and unbridled theft was perpetrated by the President’s man.”
The PDP observed that the $2 billion arms deal scandal perpetrated under former President Goodluck Jonathan and for which many are standing trial, was less than 10 percent of the $25 billion involved in the latest NNPC scandal.
“Nigerians can now see the hypocrisy in the so called anti-corruption fight. We may as well say that the privileged class of APC members enjoys total immunity from the anti-corruption campaign.
“Tired of this double-faced corruptions fight and cover ups, we demand an immediate commencement of investigation into this latest exposed sleaze by another of President Buhari’s men.
“We have been saying this for months, that the looting of the nation’s resources under this administration is record setting in the history of this nation and we are being proven right on a daily basis by the little revelations that are being made by even those working under the administration.
“We wonder what the stench will be like when the real and hidden atrocities being perpetrated under the watch of President Buhari are finally exposed when Nigerians throw the APC government out of power in 2019.”
The PDP said the sum of $25 billion involved in the latest scandal runs into over N9 trillion, which exceeds the country’s annual budget in any given year.